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New Year's Resolutions. In making New Year's resolutions remember that it is not what we resolve that counts, but what we keep! Most resolutions of this kind are as lightly broken as they are made, and for that reason had better never been conceived, for the practice tends to still further weaken one's character. A New Year's resolution without a stiff backbone to it is worthless, therefore it is advisable not to make too many. One good resolution kept is worth a wilderness of resolutions dissipated. Now there are resolutions and resolutions, but one of the best that any one can make, if he does not already practice it, is to save, to lay aside a portion of his earnings regularly. This is not a good resolution merely on account of the pecuniary gain; but, if persisted in, it begets a habit that is the mother of many civic and domestic virtues. It will make our path in the future smoother and our life brighter.
Saving for Christmas. The holidays are again knocking at the door and the thoughts of young and old are turning to Christmas presents and Christmas pleasures. It is a season of good cheer and money is held lightlyby those who have it. But there are many who find their resources entirely inadequate to meet the obligations that the season imposes.
To meet this condition Christmas savings accounts have been advocated and started by building associations and by savings banks in many localities. By this plan those who join agree to deposit a certain amount every week or month until Christmas, to be withdrawn then for holiday purposes. By that method the burden that falls so heavily at the approach of Christmas is distributed over the entire year, so that it is hardly noticed.
The plan embraces several commendable features that deserve to be more extensively exploited by building associasions. To those who already belong to a building association the matter may appear trivial, but it contains educational possibilities that can be made far-reaching.
The plan will appeal particularly to the younger generation. It seems almost as if made to order for the purpose of instilling thrift under agreeable conditions. The idea of saving for the sake of money itself is not always alluring in the eyes of the young, but who is there who does not crave to have a little ready money for Christmas, or who will not save for that purpose ?
"Mighty oaks from little acorns grow." After the seed of thrift is once planted in this way it can be safely assumed
that it will develop into more ambitious undertakings. It helps to stop the leaks through which the small coins usually sift almost unnoticed, and the revelation it affords of the cumulative power of small amounts gives one's financial sense a healthy jar.
"We suspect,” says a writer, commenting on the subject, "that there is here involved a principle that is bigger and more powerful and important even than the financing of Christmas. We have a notion that if one could master this principle, a fortune could be found in it. And it seems to have to do mainly with unconsidered trifles."
Adverse Ruling in Michigan. The building and loan associations of Michigan have been trying to find a way to accommodate borrowers, who have paid off a part of their loan and then, owing to misfortune, find themselves unable to continue their payments on all the shares originally subscribed for, by permitting them to take shares in a new series to the amount of their remaining indebtedness without going to the expense of making a new loan. The question was submitted to the attorney-general of the state in the following form, supported by an exhaustive brief by Mr. C. D. Hanchette, secretary-treasurer and attorney for the Detroit and Northern Michigan Building and Loan Association :
"May a borrower who has given his note together with a mortgage upon real estate for collateral security, and has assigned shares of stock also as collateral; substitute new or other shares of stock, and release the shares that were pledged originally with the mortgage, providing that the shares substituted shall be of par value equal to the balance of the loan, without disturbing the original note or collateral mortgage?"
The attorney-general held that under the laws of Michigan such a proceeding would be unlawful.
Mr. Hanchette writes :
"We are now preparing to introduce several measures in the legislature. One is to correct this ruling, so that the action can be taken as suggested by me in my brief; another is for the purpose of having our Franchise Fee payable upon the actual paid-in capital, and not the authorized capital stock.
"It will be very important to press these matters at the next session of our legislature.”
Pennsylvania to Prepare Safeguards for Proper Auditing.
State Banking Commissioner William H. Smith conferred with William Brown, Jr., counsel for the commission in Philadelphia. No leniency will be afforded defaulters, but, on the contrary, the law of 1909, which compels prosecution of offenders, will be enforced to the letter. Four alleged embezzlers are now awaiting trial, another awaits sentence, one is under bail, and one is missing.
In the meantime, building and loan officers declare, a "safety first" campaign should be inaugurated among the shareholders themselves for their own protection. It was pointed out that there are a number of simple safeguards which the shareholders might utilize to their benefit. For instance, it was said a shareholder should obtain a satisfied mortgage on every transaction. Title insurance was suggested as another precautionary measure.
Counselor Brown advocated a compulsory auditing of the passbooks of shareholders at least once a year, and said conditions were ripe for legislative enactment along this line.
What Social Survey Revealed in One Block
of “Little Italy” in Chicago. In 357 families living in the block there are 1,596 persons, of whom 805 are children. This number is considerably greater in winter time.
Out of 134 houses in the block, 107 are old, rickety frame buildings, many with leaky roofs, dilapidated stairs and broken-down doors and windows.
Forty-five basement flats were found, thirty-six of which were occupied by 125 persons. Most of these flats are damp, dark, poorly ventilated and unsanitary, and a bad odor predominates in nearly all of them.
More than one-fourth of the families in the block live in threeroom apartments and have only one bed room, this being generally the darkest room in the house.
There are only eight bath rooms in the block-an average of one bath tub for each 200 people. Actually forty-six persons have the eight tubs, the remaining 1,550 persons having no tubs at all.
All laundry work must be done in the kitchen, which is the family living room. A central laundry for the use of all the families of the neighborhood would be a beneficial civic investment.
Wages of the householders average $12.27 a week—when there is an income at all. Wage-earners of one-fourth of the families are not employed, or else their wages are very irregular. The yearly average family income is far below $12 a week.
Many of the women and girls work in sweatshops, under unhealthy conditions. A number are forced to do piecework at starvation wages.
A great many of the residents of the block are not American citizens.
There are many violations of the sanitary code provision for air space allowance to each person in the sleeping-rooms. Lack of enforcement of this provision can be attributed to the insufficient force of sanitary inspectors alloted to the board of health.
The many building and loan associations in Chicago, managed by German, Bohemians, Polish and other nationalities, have already done a wonderful work to ameliorate these frightful conditions. Missionary work must be done to teach the lessons of self-help and assist in the organization of building and loan associations in these localities to abolish such conditions as reported.
Mr. Haymaker to Organize Associations in Virginia.
Some three years ago there was formed at Baltimore "The Southern Settlement and Development Organization,” an organization of the South to develop the South. About a year ago this organization became impressed with the great and beneficial work which is being done in many southern communities by building and loan associations, organized on safe conservative plans and operated for the benefit of all the members on a strictly mutual, cooperative basis. They realize that these associations have proved in every instance when properly organized and honestly managed to be of inestimable value in building up the communities in which they operate. This Baltimore organization has been desirous of having associations of this character organized throughout the South, and has been for the past year seeking just the right man to undertake this work. They have been very fortunate in inducing Mr. K. V. Haymaker, of Defiance, Ohio, to engage in this work in Virginia. Mr. Haymaker has been engaged in building association work for the past twenty-six years and is a recognized authority on building association matters. It is hoped that the people will take immediate advantage of Mr. Haymaker's assistance. Weekly News, West Point, Va.
What Members Should Do. They should for their own personal and collective interest be active and zealous advocates of the merits of their association, and make them known to others; increase their own savings ; cooperate with the secretary in every way in securing new members; advise young men of promise seeking a vocation to first consider savings in a building and loan association,
The Financial Situation in England. Some anxiety has been felt as to the effect of the great war on the financial position of building societies. Has it weakened them? In the true sense of the word, we think not. They have had to suffer from an increase in withdrawals, due to nervousness, an apprehension of a general shortage of money, and also in the needs caused by the reduction of income and unemployment; people have had to fall back upon their investments to meet their payments, and societies' receipts from investments, whether by way of shares or deposits, have decreased. People in these times cannot continue to save. The great fact, however, that building societies have kept their heads above water, have been able to stand up and meet their members and depositors with confidence, that there has been no panic—we have not heard of a single case of a society having stopped payment even temporarily-must have made an impression on the public mind and confirmed its belief in the general strength and soundness of building societies.
They have not received any government assistance; the moratorium, proclaimed principally to protect the great financial houses, was not made use of by them, although some of their debtors availed themselves of it to defer their payments; they have exercised great prudence in their management and great forbearance to their borrowers, and have throughout stood well the test of an unexampled crisis. It has been necessary for them to be very conservative with their funds, and while advancing on mortgage all that they had already engaged to advance, generally not to make fresh advances except in special cases. Building societies must be content for the time to restrict their business; property values are very uncertain, and even the best expert advice may be useless. As to withdrawals, depositors, being creditors, must be first paid, but with shareholders being partners, "if at any time the money in hand shall be insufficient to pay all the members wishing to withdraw, they shall be paid in rotation according to the priority of their notices." All societies have some similar provision in their rules, and it would be wise in these times for them to avail themselves of it; it would be obviously unwise to obtain loans from bankers to pay the withdrawals of shareholders.
Apart from building societies the general situation is very reassuring. For many years great financial authorities have considered that the gold reserve in this country was much too small, and they have strongly advocated that by some means it should be largely increased. Other countries have been for years building up large gold reserves to provide for the emergency of war; we believe the Bank of France usually keeps a gold reserve of £160,000,000 sterling, while the gold reserve at the Bank of England has only been about £35,000,000, and often much less-on July 29, a day or two before the commencement of the war, the gold coin and bullion held, against the note issue of £55,121,405 (of which £25,415,055 was held by the bank itself) was £36,671,405;